30 for 30: Season 1, Episode 11

Silly Little Game (20 Apr. 2010)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | Biography | Sport
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 237 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 8 critic

Charts the origins of fantasy sports games from a small lunchtime group known as the rotisserie league to the multi-million dollar industry it is today. The show also explores how none of ... See full summary »

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Title: Silly Little Game (20 Apr 2010)

Silly Little Game (20 Apr 2010) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Episode credited cast:
Jennifer Appel
Mark Cajigao ...
Young Bruce McCall
J.R. Richard
David Kaplan ...
Davram Stiefler ...
Neil Allen


Charts the origins of fantasy sports games from a small lunchtime group known as the rotisserie league to the multi-million dollar industry it is today. The show also explores how none of the founders made money or even play the game anymore. Written by glenchapman@ruraltel.net

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20 April 2010 (USA)  »

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Captures the passion of the game while also informing on this little group that unknowingly started a global obsession
2 February 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Although some of them have only been "so-so" this series of ESPN films has thrown up some good ones and Silly Little Game is one of them as it informs and educations as it entertains. For me my first contact with fantasy sports was the mid-90's TV show Fantasy Football with Frank Skinner and David Baddiel and for quite a while I thought they had invented it. They had special guests each week and it was a comedy show with Statto the stats guy keeping us up on that side – typically for the target audience it was presented from a "flat" in a studio and Statto was always in his dressing gown. Soon after I spotted that the newspapers were all launching their own leagues (this was pre-internet) and soon many in my school were doing it.

For a few years I loved it but never gave it a thought as to where it came from. This film tackles this potentially dry subject (after all it is loads of numbers written on paper) and shows us the origin of the sport and also fills in the viewer on the passion involved and why it can be addictive to the point of being all consuming. It does this by mixing interviews with re-enactments and this is a great call because the two mix very well together. From the talking heads we get genuine memories and insight while from the recreations (or re-imaginings) we get a comic slant put on things and it adds colour to the telling.

The film's hardest part for me was that none of the guys that came up with global crazy worth billions got a red cent for their creative work. The possibilities seemed to only come to them as it started to get out of hand – and it all happened so fast that they couldn't grab it. The film deals with this well but doesn't push it – which is fair enough because they are all likable people and I preferred not to have this downer pushed onto me at the end of an otherwise upbeat and cheerful film.

Overall this is a great little bit of sports history – not something for the record books but, like so much that is great in sports, it is a personal story that is special and memorable. The filmmakers do a great job in presenting it in a way that works in regards engaging the viewer, informing the viewer and entertaining the viewer.

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